Williams-Sonoma
2.9 of 5 533 reviews
www.williams-sonomainc.com San Francisco, CA 5000+ Employees

Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated Apr 15, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.9 533 reviews

                             

43% Approve of the CEO

Williams-Sonoma President, CEO and Director Laura J. Alber

Laura J. Alber

(216 ratings)

44% of employees recommend this company to a friend
143 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
  • Culture & Values
         
  • Work/Life Balance
         
  • Senior Management
         
  • Comp & Benefits
         
  • Career Opportunities
         
  • Disapproves of CEO

 

Corporate Image does not Reflect Corporate Culture

Stock Associate (Current Employee)
Detroit, MI

I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time for more than 3 years

Prospleasant atmosphere with often genial coworkers, obvioulsly the merch discount

ConsHigh pressure on sales associates, an artificial enthusiasm from management (they are really just cheerleaders and have little control over store operations). Erratic and punative scheduling. No inventory control, acharcaic business systems. Only the highest producers are retained. Little to no benefits, as only managers are full-time.

Advice to Senior ManagementRun your business, manage your inventory, hire managers that have the tools to manage their stores.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

Was this review helpful?
Yes | No
Add Employer Response Flag Review

  • Culture & Values
         
  • Work/Life Balance
         
  • Senior Management
         
  • Comp & Benefits
         
  • Career Opportunities
         
  • Approves of CEO

 

Disappointed

Assistant Manager (Former Employee)

I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time for more than a year

ProsAwesome discount at all brands.

ConsAssociates run the stores instead of management. Too political. If you aren't a but kisser, you will not go far. Sister stores are always going back and forth trying to find out what's going on in each store. Unprofessional General Managers.

Advice to Senior ManagementSupport the people in the field. District Managers should spend time talking to the entire staff when visiting stores so that they will really know what is going on.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

Was this review helpful?
Yes | No
Add Employer Response Flag Review

  • Culture & Values
         
  • Work/Life Balance
         
  • Senior Management
         
  • Comp & Benefits
         
  • Career Opportunities
         
  • Disapproves of CEO

5 people found this helpful  

I worked for WS for almost 7 years

Assistant Manager (Former Employee)
Nashville, TN

I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time for more than 5 years

ProsThe contests,discount, and building great relationships with customers and co-workers.

ConsAfter Howard passed away, EVERYTHING changed. NOT people first AT ALL anymore. Sad. Was such a great place at one time.

Advice to Senior ManagementSenior mgmnt. need to get back to the core values of WS. Another thing, RESPECT and PRAISE go a long way.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

Was this review helpful?
Yes | No
Add Employer Response Flag Review

  • Culture & Values
         
  • Work/Life Balance
         
  • Senior Management
         
  • Comp & Benefits
         
  • Career Opportunities
         
  • Disapproves of CEO

1 person found this helpful  

Stressful

Part Time Sales Associate (Current Employee)

I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time for more than a year

ProsThe discount and fellow employees are awesome. We have each other's back, which is a relief.

ConsSuper corporate, terrible pay, limited employee coverage, dated technology and hardware, ridiculous sales demands from the higher ups, difficult system processes.

Advice to Senior ManagementGive us a break! GOD!

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

Was this review helpful?
Yes | No
Add Employer Response Flag Review

  • Culture & Values
         
  • Work/Life Balance
         
  • Senior Management
         
  • Comp & Benefits
         
  • Career Opportunities
         
  • Disapproves of CEO

10 people found this helpful  

Williams-Sonoma will never be the same without Howard Lester

Assistant Store Manager (Current Employee)
Boston, MA

I have been working at Williams-Sonoma full-time for more than a year

ProsGreat discount across all company brands (Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Williams Home, PBTeen, PBKids, Mark and Graham). Great people in the stores.

ConsAlmost too many to list. Infuriating email marketing techniques make the company look cheap and shady, leaves the customers confused and bombarded and undercuts the integrity of the brand. Absolutely NO transparency at the corporate level. Those of us in the stores never know what's going on, have no clear why decisions are made as hastily as they are, no communication about job openings even in our own districts, extremely poor communication about business models and goals. Completely unattainable email capture expectations (even in states where it is illegal to ask for email). Too many "promotions," "sales," and "specials" to keep track of or to properly use to the stores' or customers' advantage. Members of the corporate team never provide support or feedback to stores; it is next to impossible to get a return phone call or email even for customer service or product issues. Pay is embarrassingly low and fails to provide the vast majority of in-store employees a livable wage. District and Regional managers are poorly picked, poorly groomed, and poorly trained leaving them as ineffectual, often times dismissive and petty leaders of field teams. Most do not belong in management, are insulting and condescending to store employees, and create environments lacking in open dialogue, honesty, or respect.

Advice to Senior ManagementYou get what you pay for. You want a more profitable company? You have to pay for it. Your staff is over-worked, under-paid, under-trained, and completely demoralized. Extensive, corporate paid for training programs in EVERY store, for EVERY employee is severely needed to bring tenured employees up to date, round out the knowledge of newer associates, and maximize the passion and associate buy-in to the company and the product. STOP the email marketing insanity. It is KILLING the brand. We sound like we're going out of business. The emails are incredibly misleading so much so we often remark to ourselves in the stores how amazing it is that we haven't been sued for the emails. Our customers are smart. They know our product and our pricing. They aren't fooled by your tactics. They aren't fooled by your poor sale markdowns that you leave to languish on sales floors for a year. Customers who haven't left our fold do to the terrible practices of the last few years are about to abandon ship if we don't go back to our classic practices: Two sales every year, prices reduced each week till sold out in a months time. It works, but more importantly our customers expect it, they plan for it, and they respond to it. Fix the payroll situation. We are so understaffed that our stores are hotbeds for theft and poor service. Not because employees are negligent, but because there aren't enough employees in the store at any given time to properly run the store. INVEST IN TECHNOLOGY. Enough with slow, out-dated systems. Quit talking about ipads and new registers, do it already. We're losing customers' trust and patience the longer they have to wait - and trust me, we have so many system issues they're often waiting a while to complete simple transactions. Last, stop taking your staff for granted. We all feel dumped on perpetually by DM-level and above. It's YOUR job to change that, otherwise you're not running a business, you're running a very expensive training program for your competitors and vendors.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

Was this review helpful?
Yes | No
Add Employer Response Flag Review

  • Culture & Values
         
  • Work/Life Balance
         
  • Senior Management
         
  • Comp & Benefits
         
  • Career Opportunities
         
  • Disapproves of CEO

4 people found this helpful  

This is not a diverse community.

District Manager (Former Employee)
Newark, NJ

I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time for more than 3 years

ProsDiscount on cookware and products in general. Some great teams in the NY Market.

ConsDoes not support a Diverse workplace. People Development not a focus.
No concern for work life balance.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

Was this review helpful?
Yes | No
Add Employer Response Flag Review

  • Culture & Values
         
  • Work/Life Balance
         
  • Senior Management
         
  • Comp & Benefits
         
  • Career Opportunities
         
  • Disapproves of CEO

9 people found this helpful  

After 8 years I can't do it anymore.

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time for more than 8 years

ProsWas a wonderful company with dedicated employees and customers. It is no longer.

ConsEverything from current product lines, buyers, DC and customer clienteling programs have tanked. There is nothing of quality left. Even the brands carried are plummeting to the deepest depths. May as well shop and work at Sur La Table and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Advice to Senior ManagementLaura Alder and Shareholders..... You have blown it. Your drive for personal gain has killed an amazing company. Sorry. I know. I know. Drive those shareholder profits at all expense to the customer and then sell the company. That is the goal. The goal is not to maintain a quality brand any longer.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

Was this review helpful?
Yes | No
Add Employer Response Flag Review

  • Culture & Values
         
  • Work/Life Balance
         
  • Senior Management
         
  • Comp & Benefits
         
  • Career Opportunities
         
  • Disapproves of CEO

8 people found this helpful  

Open your eyes Laura, this is YOUR chance to make a difference

Sales Associate (Former Employee)

I worked at Williams-Sonoma part-time for more than 5 years

ProsDiscount, selection of products, best kitchen towels out there.

ConsLambasting the customers the minute the door opens, and questioning them to death before they can even get a chance to look around. Cumbersome headsets that constantly feed, sell sell sell, into your ear making it difficult to effectively communicate with customer whose needing help (do they really think we don't know we need to sell?). Micromanagement abounds, good old fashioned Hi, how ya doing, customer service not allowed.

Employees are hounded to question, follow, and question the poor customers some more, oh, but don't step out of your assigned area to show the customer more products and potential add-on purchases, rather, point them to someone else in another locale of the store and lose the interpersonal relationship you already established with that customer. Incredulous.

Who came up with all these micro-regulations that slap the faces of the very people who made this company - the CUSTOMERS - and tie the hands of seasoned, passionate foodie sales people?
What happened to the day when you could stick with the same customer throughout the entire store, and get to know them and their needs, almost always ending up with huge sales of many different products, etc?
No, you have to bounce the customer around from "dept." to "dept." causing them to have to repeat their story over and over. I have seen REAL DISGUST on the faces of many customers who came through the door, saw me, or someone else up front, looked away and skurried past, with a hand up in the air saying, Im just looking! Im just looking! (Say hi and leave me alone for a few minutes!)

If the current CEO, Laura Alber ever reads these reviews, you'd think she'd get on it and make some immediate changes. Somebody, anybody, pay attention and bring back the good ol, neighborly, unsavage customer service ways. That is what initally got this company to where it is now, some 3 Billion dollars a year or more, but watch that go down as the company's reputation goes down if nothing is changed. Sad, because I know Chuck Williams would be very hurt and disappointed by the overwhelming negative reviews his company now gets. So, why isn't anyone in corporate doing something about it?

Advice to Senior ManagementRead the on-line reviews now and again. No better feedback comes from any other source than the people who work or have worked for your company. Read, and then take corrective action.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

Was this review helpful?
Yes | No
Add Employer Response Flag Review

  • Culture & Values
         
  • Work/Life Balance
         
  • Senior Management
         
  • Comp & Benefits
         
  • Career Opportunities
         
  • Approves of CEO

4 people found this helpful  

Difficult personalities to manage, fun product, bad managers.

Buyer (Former Employee)
San Francisco, CA

I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time for more than 5 years

ProsThe product is great and so are the core company values. Everyone is passionate about the product and doing the best work.

ConsA majority of managers are over jealous and poor managers. Most are too young to effectively manage and leave their subordinates ill equipped to manage the rigors of succeeding in the personal politics of the everyday work. There is a "sorority/fraternity" mentality across all cross functional groups and levels. In some functions there is an attitude of one-upping and back stabbing that is encouraged by some managers. It takes a person with thick skin and a flare for moving around these obstacles to succeed at the corporate office.

Advice to Senior ManagementA deeper look at the VP/Director/Manager positions needs to happen. It is the lack of support, encouragement and everyday back stabbing of subordinates that is prevalent across many functions. If this was changed, the company could truly be great.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

Was this review helpful?
Yes | No
Add Employer Response Flag Review

  • Culture & Values
         
  • Work/Life Balance
         
  • Senior Management
         
  • Comp & Benefits
         
  • Career Opportunities
         
  • No Opinion of CEO

5 people found this helpful  

Worked for the company for over 5 years and it is not what it used to be.

Sales Associate (Current Employee)
Santa Clara, CA

I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time for more than 5 years

ProsGreat stores, beautiful product, first class retail employees, wouldn't change that for the world. Great employee benefits, and wonderful retail teams.

ConsThey don't reward their retail employees, while pushing their employees to generate more sales. Upper management DM's, RM's need to retain good talent and dedicated employees, instead they drive them away with low pay and empty promises. I have seen many amazing store managers leave because of poor upper management. Please don't retaliate when people do decide to leave for other opportunities. Sets a very poor example to other people and makes you dislike the working for the company.

Advice to Senior ManagementPlease be nice to your employees, they are the face of the company when a customer walks into the stores. Pay your GMs and ASMs more, they can easily go to other brands and get more money, but they stay because they love the company and love the brand. Culture has definitely changed, and management does not reward their employees with all the hard work that they do. Employee's do talk to each other, and comments and grievances are bubbled down and it is horrible to hear what is being said to GMs and ASMs.

As you can see a lot of the feedback is towards upper management, maybe it tells you something about how the company is run. These women have lost their sense of reality and the touch with the customer. You promise so much, but are just terrible and only in it for yourself. Without store employees you would not be carrying around your Birkin bag, or driving around in your nice cars.

Please be nice to store employees and pay us for all the hard work that we do.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

Was this review helpful?
Yes | No
Add Employer Response Flag Review
RSS Feed Embed

Worked for Williams-Sonoma? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.

Glassdoor is your free inside look at Williams-Sonoma reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Williams-Sonoma CEO Laura J. Alber. All 143 reviews posted anonymously by Williams-Sonoma employees.